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Old 12-16-2006, 12:48 AM   #1
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Default What am I doing wrong?

I'm not having much luck with all grain, I've done atleast 12 ag batches and never got good efficiency. Here is what I did on my latest one... tell me if you see anything wrong :

I'm brewing a 5 gallon ag beer with 12lb of grain. 9lbs of the malt is base, the rest if crystal, carapils, and flaked wheat.

I poured boiling hot water into my MLT, which is a converted IceCube 48qt Cooler. Its equipted with a "T" Bazooka filter and a SS spigot. I let the boiling water sit int there for 10 minutes, then dumped it and put in my 3 gallons of mash water that was 164 degrees. I then slowly added my grain and stirred well. It dropped down to 142, but my target is 150 so I poured some more boiling water in until it came up ti 150 degrees. I then stirred off and on for the next hour and 15 minutes.

I then connected a tube to my HLT and fed 170 degree water into the MLT and opened up the spigot on my MLT to match its speed. I did a good fly sparge for 30 minutes. I tested the brand new wort and found great conversion via an iodine regent test.

I was also measuring gravity with my hydrometer from time to time. it was at 1.028 before I stopped becuase I had 6 gallons of water sparged in already.

I then brang this wort to a boil and boiled for 30 minutes before I added first hops.

At this point I noticed I wasn't far from the 10 gallon mark... probably around 8.5 gallons. I lost probably 1/2 gallon during the whole boil... leaving me with 8 gallons.... herm... I think i might of answered my own question.

Anywho I added my other hops and chilled via shirron, aerated w/ pump and airstone, and pitched a yeast that was started the day prior.

Efficency was 55% for the 5 gallons that made it into carboy.

Should I sparge slower? or sparge warmer? or boil down my diluted mess?

Thanks in advance,

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Old 12-16-2006, 12:57 AM   #2
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Batch sparge and boil down if you get it wrong.

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Old 12-16-2006, 01:03 AM   #3
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I'm no AG pro but I think you may have run off too much wort. You probably should have only run off 6 - 6.5 g and boiled down to 5 - 5.5. Had you boiled your original 8g down to 5, you'd likely have gotten better efficiency, I think. Like I said, I'm no AG pro. I've only done 4 AG batches so far.
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Old 12-16-2006, 01:15 AM   #4
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If you really want to know what your mash efficiency is then the best time to check is in the kettle right after you run off and before you introduce any other system losses.
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Old 12-16-2006, 01:49 AM   #5
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I think you had chanelling issues here. 30 minutes is fast for fly sparging, and using a Bazooka tube besides.

I'm with Orfy here, batch sparge.
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Old 12-16-2006, 03:47 AM   #6
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You're probably sparging too fast and getting channeling. Batch sparge & boil until you are down to 6 gallons before starting the hops.
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Old 12-16-2006, 02:42 PM   #7
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With a square cooler and bazooka screen, I would aslo try batch sparging.
A 30 minute fly sparge is also not long enough IMHO. I usually take 90 minutes to fly sparge a 5g batch. If I cut this down to 60 minutes, efficiency drops noticeably.
I'd also increase the temperature of the sparge water. You want the sparge to be conducted at 170, and you will never get there if the sparge water is 170. This is another cause of poor efficiency.

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Old 12-16-2006, 05:15 PM   #8
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What was the OG of your wort? If you finished with 8 gallons a lower gravity would be expected. Your efficiency may not be as bad as you think.

Adding boiling water to your tun to heat it up is a good idea. Take it a step further and heat your mash water 5 degrees hotter than your target. Pour the water in and let the temp drop to the target temp.
Lets say you want 152 degrees. Your strike water temp should be about 166 or 167 degrees. Heat the water to 171 then pour into the tun and let it sit until it drops to 166. If you do this you will have much less temp drop when the grain is added and you will be closer to your target mash temp.

For 12 pounds of grain you should have about 15 quarts (3 3/4 gallons) water for the mash. You will loose about 1 1/4 gallons to grain absorption. The sparge should be about 6 gallons. If you loose 1/2 gallon of wort in the Mash/Lauter tun you should have about 8 gallons of wort in your brew kettle. If you boil for an hour, depending on wort left in the boil kettle, you will have about 6 gallons or a bit more in your fermenter. You could boil it longer if you want to get it down to 5 1/2.

You could try batch sparging but try the things I've listed first and see what effect they have.

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